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(33) Friends indeed…

October 28, 2009

As I was recollecting my association with Sri S.R.Prabhu, it occurred to me that there were two other people who helped Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in its infancy and about whom I had not written in this blog.

One of them is Sri T.Venkataswamy. He was also introduced to me through Sri Prabhu. Venkataswamy had retired as the Secretary of the Karnataka Legislature. He had become famous for chairing a Commission on Castes and his monumental work came to be known as the Venkataswamy Commission report. Unfortunately, it got relegated to the dustbins of history, probably because of the political sensitivities involved. He was another remarkable person who treated me with so much respect, love and admiration that I was always left embarrassed whenever I met him. He lived in Basavanagudi in Bangalore and I used to visit him regularly. He was one of those who was deeply inspired by Ramakrishna-Vivekananda and I remember having many an intellectual conversation about Swami Vivekananda with him. He was a staunch supporter of us and he had a policy of giving away any income that he felt was more than what he needed for his daily living. Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement greatly benefited from his generosity in its early days.

Another person who continues to be a good friend and well-wisher even today is Mr.Varadarajan. He lives on the same street as my family does in Bangalore and has known me possibly since the time I was 5 years old. He was one of the first few people that I spoke to, about Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and my intention to start such an organization. It was he who helped me draft the Memorandum of Association, helped me raise resources in the early days and was the one who funded all the medical equipments that we required for setting up our Thumnerale clinic. Whether it was taking me to Advani & Associates for designing our Kenchanahalli hospital or collecting donations from his friends for building it, he was always ready with a helping hand. It would not be wrong to say that apart from Swami Sureshanandaji and Swami Achalanandaji, it was Mr.Varadarajan who helped me sustain faith in myself, in the society and in my beliefs.

But for the support we received from wonderful people like Venkataswamy and Varadarajan, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement could very well have remained just a figment of my imagination.

Balu

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